Composites In Aerospace: A Maintenance Primer

If you see composites in your future, learn about them, embrace them.


The authority to repair composite structures lies in the hands of the airframe OEM. Information about classification, size, and location limitations may be found in the aircraft maintenance manual (AMM) or by phoning its technical support line. Repairs to composites should be undertaken by trained, qualified personnel only. In fact, most OEMs require training or certification to perform repairs on their products. While there are many composite training opportunities available, one of the biggest industry problems is that there is no standardization of process among the OEMs. Having said that, I can tell you that fundamentally, the differences are not that great; many of the basics are the same (or at least similar). While OEM training will be specific to their type, there are also schools and companies which offer training tailored to the industry. So, if you see composites in your future, learn about them, embrace them.

Tim Wright has been working with aerospace composites for 13 years as a technician and technical trainer. He is currently on the faculty at Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls, MN. Previously, as a technical trainer at Cirrus Aircraft, he instructed more than 250 technicians, engineers, A&P instructors, and regulatory agents on Cirrus composite damage assessment and repair processes.

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